Who knew embroidery could be so much fun?


I have been so inspired by other dyers’ work with naturally dyed embroidery thread that I decided a while back that perhaps I could include some silk thread in my many dye pots.  I dyed a large quantity of wool in small batches over the last few months, so there have been quite a few opportunities.  Really, I had friends who like to embroider in mind at the time.  I thought I could gift them my little lengths of dyed thread.  However, a vast new plan has sprung into my mind.  I dug out the embroidery hoop I brought home from an op shop years back, but have never used.  It helps enormously but also makes embroidery rather louder than I had anticipated, as if the fabric were a drumhead!  I did not expect to find embroidery so thrilling, or so noisy.

This new project has had me out and about in the neighbourhood visiting species of eucalypt I use less.  There have been some  surprises.  The two spindly E Websterianas with their minnirichi bark and their heart-shaped leaves are gone!  They were not thriving in that location just a few blocks away, I admit.  But I am sorry to have lost them (let alone that someone probably took all that leafage to the dump).

Another day I went to two different E Scoparias, walking further to get to the one which dependably hangs low when I couldn’t reach the leaves of the closest.  Gone was the lush straggly undergrowth that used to surround it, and gone was the low hanging branch.  I am not sure whom it had offended.


At least the tree is still there, snuggled up to an equally large carob tree.  Since major infrastructure came to my neighbourhood and trucks became a constant form of traffic through streets large, medium and small, the low hanging branches of many of my favourite trees have been removed.  Apparently no one was considering the suburban gleaner at the time…

On a subsequent trip, I discovered that the largest, most luxurious E Scoparia in my neighbourhood, whose tree hating neighbour had me worried when I was collecting bark, has been pruned with a chain saw so that no longer do its lovely leaves hang anywhere I will be able to reach them without a ladder.  Luckily, the bark will fall where I can reach it, and the tree is still there despite having such a determined human enemy.


Filed under Dye Plants, Eucalypts, Leaf prints, Natural dyeing, Sewing

12 responses to “Who knew embroidery could be so much fun?

  1. Pia

    I never imagined it would be loud either! How much are you dyeing at a time? I’ve measured some into 25 cm lengths to dye recently, no idea if that’s a good size skein.


    • To be honest, I haven’t measured my little lengths. I would say they are probably closer to one metre. You can see them in some of my pictures of samples in the austral indigo and plum pine posts, for example- just a length of thread wrapped around a piece of plastic cut from a milk bottle. I guess I didn’t imagine ever having a call for 25m of embroidery thread, Pia!


      • Pia

        I never embroidered at all, so I had no idea what I’d use it for or how much is used. 🙂 Just checked some commercial cotton bundles I had, they’re 8 meters a piece so I guess I have plenty!


  2. Pia

    meters, drat, not cm


  3. Tree-haters are everywhere, it’s so sad, so deluded.


  4. I love that you are dyeing embroidery thread. I have been wanting to do the same but have been unable to find a source for natural, undyed thread. Would you mind sharing your source?


  5. Pingback: Quilt finished at long last! | Local & Bespoke

  6. Liz

    It may be years late in the saying, but I love this idea of embroidering the name of the dye stuff onto the dyed cloth


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